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Weekly Review #38: Billion dollar platforms, lovesick philosophers, and ambitious abstention

I’m one week into Tim Ferriss’s NOBNOM challenge (no booze, no masturbation). The booze part is easy since social drinking partners respect the challenge, but it’s a lot harder when you’re in bed by yourself and can’t fall asleep. So far so good, and now I’m seeing all kinds of reasons to abstain – according to Geoffrey Miller on Bulletproof Radio, the less you ejaculate, the more ambitious you are:

  • “Now, if you’re ejaculating all the time, your body is sending your brain signals that you’re succeeding. There’s apparently some mate, even if it’s only a virtual porno mate. Thus you can down regulate your mating effort. You don’t need to be ambitious and get up early and exercise and accomplish shit.I suspect that the more often a guy will ejaculate, the less mating effort, and for me, that means the less creativity. The less ambition, the less extroversion, the less social networking. Probably your body is also getting the signals that say I don’t have to bother looking that attractive. Right? I don’t have to look like a hot single guy anymore.”

I met a guy at HustleCon this week whose business stamps were just pieces of cardboard stamped with his contact info. Clever recycling – I’d just bring the stamp to the conference and then stamp others’ cards, or even their wrists!

Speaking of which, another factoid I left out of the HustleCon summary is that Joel Gascoigne of Buffer would advertise features before he had even coded them. Then customers would call in and say “This part doesn’t work”, he’d code it right then, and call them back to say “Try it now.” Talk about validating before building!

Flipped through Philosophers Who Failed at Love the other day – what a hilarious concept, to take these arbiters of truth and justice and humble them with tales of their failed love exploits. (random highlight: Kant viewed masturbation as worse than suicide, because at least the latter required courage, whereas the former is simply succumbing to lust) What other experts could we similarly dethrone with stories of their failures in adjacent industries?

Loved hearing Pieter Levels’ story this week – he’s a Dutch minimalist hacker who travels around Southeast Asia doing whatever he wants, all while building 12 startups in as many months for 2014. So far Nomadlist (list of best bang for your buck locations around the world) and (accountability) are my favorites. Some good location independence stories as well:

  • Many people that he runs into in these countries build their businesses with tourist visas in hand, and are thus not paying taxes. “Most of the coworking spaces I know have been visited by immigration police, because they are like honey pots – they’ll be able to arrest and deport 100 people easily at any time,” he elaborates. “So usually the local authorities are bribed to keep a distance.”
  • Check out his transcription of Joe Rogan’s ‘Shitty Money Making Machine’ talk, too.

Patrick Stewart points out that all the billion dollar companies these days are platforms, no products. All they do is facilitate the transfer of value between users, not create it themselves. To create such platforms requires Design Thinking, which he elaborates on – worthy read. rates neighborhoods around the world on their walkability – handy and surprising comprehensive. is full of gems like

  • “Life is too short to be alone, too precious. Share it with a friend.”
  • “Go out on a limb – that’s where the fruit is.”